As a B2B (business to business) leader, you need the best way to not only reach and engage your audience, but also to convert that audience to solid leads as efficiently as possible.
B2B brands can and should use content marketing differently than B2C brands to benefit from the meaningful relationships that content marketing can build. Here, we’ll show you how.
B2B? B2C? WDYM?!?
While there is some overlap, B2B and B2C companies tend to operate in very different ways—particularly in terms of how they speak to their audiences, and how long that conversation might be prior to a sale. While B2C companies must often cast a wide net in their marketing, the rules of the game are very different in B2B marketing.
As one example, the average order value for B2B brands is over seven times higher than that of B2C.
Since B2B companies are usually selling these bigger ticket items, and also larger packages, buyers are going into their purchases with significantly more considered intentions. While B2C customers may make their purchase decisions by quickly clicking add to order, companies that want to order from other businesses generally tend to seek out a lengthier relationship by finding a partner that they can depend on for the considerable future. This is why a 2017 study found that the average B2B purchase requires sign off from an average of 6.8 stakeholders.
Put simply, as a B2B company you are marketing to a smaller and more defined customer base. Your customers will want to do as much research as they can about your product and your organization as a whole, but even more importantly, they want to be able to be sure that they can trust you as a long term partner.
This is all the more reason to create quality content that will help foster a longer and more personal relationship with your clients. What do they say about getting out of something what you put into it? Whatever it is, it’s so true in marketing your business.
Here are five ways to stand out with better B2B marketing
1. Know your target audience
Your B2B clientele typically take some time to review and purchase your product. The buying cycle is longer than for B2C brands; while B2C consumers might only take a matter of minutes to click buy, the process of starting a new relationship with another business could take a matter of weeks—or a heck of a lot longer.
This can be great from a content marketing perspective—assuming you have the right content (and you can)! Buyers take their time to look at product reviews, share their research with other stakeholders and might even ask for a product demonstration before deciding to purchase. Having a small and thoughtful target audience makes it infinitely worthwhile to create informative and purposeful content that they will value and use.
2. Use your content to show off all of your knowledge
Just as it is important to know your target audience, it is as important that they know you! Creating marketed content, whether through social media posts, emails or even through your website is a brilliant way for your potential client to learn more about your organization.
Our client at Within People have used their blog to excellent effect to show how their work in strategy and coaching translates to our everyday lives—and to show how thoughtful and experienced they are as consultants in advising those folks. Their content interrogates everything from how to develop equitable working practices to how organizations can combat pandemic fatigue. Their posts are topical, to pique a savvy audience’s attention, and through their intriguing content they also show off their expansive strategic business knowledge—while staying plugged into the global conversation.
3. Be human
When creating business-centred content, some marketers far too quickly forget that companies are both run and operated by humans. B2C brands will likely always feature more emotion-driven marketing than B2B brands—But don’t let them corner the market when it comes to compelling copywriting and content that has emotional impact! Your B2B content must persuade those real people in leadership positions in business that YOU have the answer, and the solution, to make their days easier and more productive. Focus on the people within the organizations you’re courting—and find out what their pain points are, and what they’re passionate about changing or learning for the benefit of their professional lives and/or business. Good messaging and marketing speaks to the human first.
Do you remember the first time you heard about Squid Game?
I heard about it towards the end of a Youtube video. The YouTuber insisted that everyone watch it—and that we wouldn’t be disappointed. I immediately went on Netflix and added it to my list of things to watch. Two days later it was all over Twitter, where there were viral memes, similarly, threads formed discussing everything about the show from the games themselves to the clothing of the characters. This buzz all contributed to the international conversation and soon the South Korean show was breaking all kinds of records: in its second week alone the hit Netflix show streamed for 3 billion minutes.
Word of mouth played a huge role in the show’s success; notable especially for a non-English-speaking show.
Having people speak well and enthusiastically about your team, your products, or your brand is as crucial now as it’s ever been—if not more, since reviews are public and shared widely; and because it’s now simply a given that your clients will be doing detailed research on your brand, as well as on your competition.
This is why it’s vital to collect testimonials and success stories from the clients you work with: they speak about the brilliant work that you do—from your clients’ perspective. This is precisely why our partners at Chroma have three testimonials and success stories prominently featured on their website. It helps their potential customers to see exactly what kind of work they have done, and what their clients value most about it. Stories, as always, lend even the most complex projects with a narrative, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion, enabling any brand’s work to be more easily understood, and the people behind it more human and relatable.
5. Invest in a social media strategy
A good content marketing strategy relies on social media for dissemination of content, connecting people who appreciate that content and enabling them to respond to and share it further. This is as important in B2B as it is for consumer marketing; having a cohesive and unified social media presence will help bring people to your amazing B2B content and in turn, will help them get a better sense of your organization and work as a whole.
Your social media content can provide the spark that ignites interest, which you can then use to inform, educate, and/or entertain your social media audience—all with the ultimate aim of getting that audience interested enough in your knowledge, expertise, or products and services to reach out and get in touch.
It’s sometimes a journey to ‘convert’ B2B social media followers into leads, but if you create and publish content that speaks to your potential clients along that journey, building trust and appreciation—as a good social media strategy should—then that journey will be well worth it for your customer, and for you.
At Forge & Spark, we pour our passion into content that connects people on a genuine level–and B2B businesses are just one of our passions. If you want to chat about how to create great content that will elevate your business, please reach out. We’d love to help!